A non-profit initiative of the Permaculture Education Institute & Morag Gamble

Hatching Chicks

by | March 08, 2021 | Permayouth | 0 comments

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On Saturday, Day 19 of our hen brooding, we hatched 6 chicks from a clutch of 10 eggs. We opened the other eggs to see what the cause might have been for them not hatching – there was no embryonic growth so the eggs probably weren’t fertilized.

Did you know that while the hatching occurs the mom hen and chicks make special sounds? It’s a simple yet heartwarming communication.

The chick will chirp as if to say “mommy where are you?” and the mom will calmly and soothingly cluck “I’m here.” To which the chick will then make happy content peeping noises.

Sometimes the mom will cluck too, as if making sure her babies are alright. If they don’t answer her she will gently peck them just to make sure they’re okay. When pecked by the mom the chicks usually make their content peeping sounds to assure their well-being.

This particular batch of chicks started running around on day two – unbelievable! Usually in our experience it takes up to three days for them to properly engage in chick behaviours. This is the sign of a good batch!

We moved them into their larger cage/hutch, in which they will spend the next 6 weeks with mom. It protects them from disease, snakes, and crows; our biggest chick-thieves. The chicks being in their own cage for 6 weeks is also great safety from the other adult chickens that tend to peck the younger peeps.

Our new babies have almost completed their first week outside the shell! Their tiny wing and tail feathers have begun developing already, and they’re jumping on momma hens back for piggy back rides.

You’re going to want to make sure your chicken family has a nice padded flooring because mom hens are CLUMSY. They tend to stampede all over their little babies. Chicks are very durable though, so there needn’t be too much worry. Just make sure they’re being pushed into something soft, you don’t want any sprains or breaks.

Also try to find a spot for your chicks where the sunlight hits! Chicks absolutely love sun bathing.

Our chicks get a special chick feed in the first two weeks which is ground up fish and grains from the local market. They also get lots of wrigglers and kitchen scraps. Remember, chicks are not very intelligent. There is not much room inside those little skulls for big brains. Give your chicks bite-sized food. They will always try to choke down even the largest cockroaches they can find, and while mostly this isn’t an issue, Chick-Choking is a thing. Make your kitchen scraps smaller too, if it’s moist or soggy it might make the chicks sticky.
The poor babies can get sick, or worse – die, due to:

1. limited movement

2. constantly moist, so their temperature drops and they get cold

3. their fluff sticking to their skin can cause sores and rashes

Smaller sizes for smaller birds 😉



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